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Amazon’s Holiday 2021 E-Commerce Performance Review

December 08, 2021
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As early as October, it was clear to many brands and advertisers the holiday shopping season would begin earlier than ever. And as sales from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and overall November shopping come in, the data is backing this up. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw slight YoY decreases in e-commerce performance, and Thanksgiving remained flat, while the month of November saw an 11.9% increase YoY.  

In general, these statistics aren’t surprising, as many retailers launched deals earlier than ever due to supply chain issues, and consumers began shopping in October and early November. Additionally, e-commerce sales last year showed a significant increase due to the pandemic, which could be hard to match with many consumers shopping in-store again.

“With brands offering deals earlier than ever, looming supply chain issues and delivery delays being reported, many consumers were not waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals,” Greg Wolny, Executive Vice President of Commerce at Code3, said. “We saw similar data internally as well. Agency-wide, conversion rates from advertising campaigns during Turkey 5 were flat, if not slightly down, compared to the rest of November leading up to the tentpole timeframe.”  

Additionally, Code3’s e-commerce performance data showed that many shoppers who were actively researching products on Black Friday may not have actually purchased them until Cyber Monday. Ad attributed sales associated with clicks on Black Friday jumped after Cyber Monday, indicating that those weekend shoppers may still be on the hunt for a great deal. 

At Code3, our media, creative, and commerce strategists are seasoned professionals in adjusting to the always-changing e-commerce landscape. Code3 came out of November and Turkey 5, the days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season, with plenty of wins for our clients. 

Read on to learn more about the strategies we used to help our clients increase sales this season and deliver excellent e-commerce performance. 

Quick Best Seller Rank Growth

A Code3 client, and Fortune 500 Company, designs, develops, and markets consumer housewares, health, home, and beauty products. The company had not been running any search advertising for four months prior to Thanksgiving due to supply chain issues, and gave Code3 the green light to spend again on November 1. This was instrumental given the client had a goal of increasing the air purifier SKU’s Best Seller Rank (BSR) for Turkey 5 shopping.

Our team was aggressive in meeting the e-commerce performance goal and combined a robust budget with a discounted Turkey 5 price to quickly increase the product’s ranking from the low 20s all the way up to #2 post-Turkey 5 weekend. 

Code3 Search Strategists used Sponsored Brand, Product, and Display ads, to target non-branded keywords. Alongside these efforts, strategists targeted competing brands with SKUs in the top 15 BSR, utilizing Sponsored Brand Video. Additionally, within the Sponsored Brand advertising, they worked alongside our creative team to create lifestyle imagery within the ads. This use of imagery can cut down on white space in the ad and makes it eye-popping, leading to a higher CTR.  

The significant search advertising efforts also led to a quick rise in organic sales in just one month. After pulling back spend due to budgets slightly post-Turkey 5, the company is still seeing an increase in BSR, and is currently at #5. 

“This is a big accomplishment because the air purifier category is really competitive,” said Chandler Walnsch, Search Advertising Strategist II. “Also, the slight drop in BSR is proof that even if you take your foot off the pedal a little bit during the holiday shopping season, your ranking in the category might decrease as well.” 

Surpassing Amazon’s Forecasted Unit Goal

A leading consumer electronics brand selling on Amazon in the US and Canada had a high-level e-commerce performance goal of moving through units. Keeping in mind consumers are looking for deals, especially on electronics when holiday shopping, our search advertising team implemented an 80/20 budget approach. With this, 80% of spend was allocated to products with deals, with a goal of moving through units, and 20% was spent on new products to increase visibility during the peak shopping time. 

For these campaigns, there was a heavy focus on non-branded keywords as well as competitor and category targeting. “We closely monitored campaigns throughout the 5-day time frame and were able to continuously uncap budgets when we saw success,” said Alexa Guarino, Client Strategist II. “We were able to make a huge dent in product inventory and met all of the clients' T5 goals.” 

Ultimately the brand surpassed all goals, including Amazon’s forecasted unit goal, and had an increase in 29% YoY ordered revenue in the month of November for US sales. Canada goals were also achieved: 

  • Surpassed Amazon’s forecasted unit goal - 135% to unit goal
  • T5 NTB Sales were 84%
  • Overall November ordered revenue: +54% YoY

Selling Through Deals 

A class-leading vacuum cleaner and small kitchen appliance brand was running several Amazon Deals of the Day throughout Turkey 5. “At a high level, the main focus was to achieve high sell-through rates on all the categories featured in the Amazon Deal of the Day,” said Jenn DePiero, Senior Client Strategist. 

With a 45% and 55% mix of budget between Amazon Sponsored Ads and DSP respectively, and a variety of non-brand, brand, and competitor terms planned, our team was able to achieve client goals. The key to executing was constant communication with the client and our team, and there were many nimble pivots throughout the weekend.

 “We worked with the client on numerous real-time budget shifts,” said DePiero. “We were able to see what categories were selling through well, and reallocate budget to categories whose sales were not trending as well as expected throughout the day.” 

The commitment to real-time communication also led to a strategy update early on the morning of Black Friday. The data that was coming in helped our team make the strategic decision to pull back on AMS conquesting on competitor terms, and focus all efforts on non-brand and category terms. 

Additionally, preparation was critical to support all deals throughout Turkey 5. Code3 built over 500 net-new campaigns to support the Deals of the Day, overall category terms, and more, all with detailed plans on when to go live with the ads to ensure there was plenty of advertising coverage. 

The prep and communication paid off, with two of the Deal of the Day offers selling through over 100%, and a 77%  sell-through rate across all categories. 

Expertise, preparation, client communication, hard work, and more were behind many of our client successes this holiday shopping season. If you could use a strategic team of experts to help you win, contact us today

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